Series: Not a Drop to Drink #1
Published by Harper Collins on September 24th 2013
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Lifestyles, Country Life, Romance, General
Also by this author: The Female of the Species, A Madness So Discreet
Hardcover provided by My Wallet (purchased)
Fans of classic frontier survival stories, as well as readers of dystopian literature, will enjoy this futuristic story where water is worth more than gold. New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant says Not a Drop to Drink is a debut "not to be missed." With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl's journey in a frontierlike world not so different from our own.
Teenage Lynn has been taught to defend her pond against every threat: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and most important, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty—or doesn't leave at all. Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. But when strangers appear, the mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won't stop until they get it. . . .
For more in this gritty world, join Lynn on an epic journey to find home in the companion novel, In a Handful of Dust.
I recently read Mindy McGinnis’ The Female of the Species. I liked the writing style so much that I went looking for more books from this author. Imagine my surprise when another book by this author, Not a Drop to Drink, is already sitting on my bookshelf! I picked up Not a Drop to Drink in an impulse purchase last year. After reading this, I went out and bought everything else I could find with this author’s name on it. It is rare to find gripping writing that also displays complex characters in realistic worlds. The characters are a bit dark, but they are also wholly believable.
This is Lynn’s story. Lynn is a girl growing up after the fall of civilization. She lives on a homestead that has a pond. This pond is incredibly important as clean water is as good as gold in this world. Lynn and Mother have found a way to filter the water and hunt to survive. Their only problem is keeping strangers away. When they see smoke on the horizon it signifies strangers near by. Lynn’s whole world changes when she is faced with the choice to help those strangers or do what Mother always taught her.
“Do you want to die like this?” Mother had asked that night and every night since then.
Lynn’s answer never changed. “No.”
And Mother’s response, their evening prayer. “Then you will have to kill.”
Lynn is such a complex character. She is a good person, who has been taught to think a certain way about other people. Lynn is really isolated by Mother, for good reason though. This world is dangerous and death is all around her. I loved that Lynn could take care of herself. She has no problems shooting someone for coming to close to her pond. That pond is everything she has in this world and it requires protection. That mindset has kept her and her mother safe for years.
Lynn has a very standoffish way of communicating with people. She doesn’t jump into anything. When she starts to communicate with her neighbor, Stebbs, I assumed their would be an alliance. Lynn doesn’t work that way though. Instead it was slow movements from two very wary people. Lynn wrestles with everything she has been taught and it takes a lot for her to make changes. Stebbs steps into Lynn’s world and quietly challenges everything Lynn believes about strangers. This makes for much growth in Lynn. Her character must have been fun to write. Lynn is so determined and capable, it is refreshing to read about a girl like that.
I really liked the romantic interest, Eli. Eli is the least threatening stranger Lynn could probably encounter. He is not so capable, but he is better with conversation then Lynn. When Eli burdens Lynn with a little girl named Lucy, I think it was more that Lucy thawed Lynn’s heart, making a little romance possible with Eli. Gah! I cried so hard for Lynn and Eli. This wasn’t really that sort of book, but I sobbed anyways.
Lucy was like a little bright light in this drab world. Lucy is a spirited five year old that needs and deserves saving. I wanted to cry for all the crap that Lucy had to deal with, but as I said before, this is Lynn’s story. Although Lynn’s life is even harder that Lucy’s, seeing a five year old in this world makes it seem all the more realistic for Lynn to be so stone-hearted.
This has to be hands-down one of the best post-apocalyptic YA books ever written. It is smart and doesn’t have all the annoyances that fill most YA books. Instead we find YA aged characters navigating in a post-apocalyptic world. The only thing juvenile about this book is the age of the characters. What makes this story so profound in my opinion is that it is not that hard to imagine a world like Lynn’s. It is also not hard to imagine Mother sheltering her from all the evil trying to invade their homestead. I think the moral of this story is that people need people as much as they need water to survive.
I am so glad to have read this book, because it really moved me. I would recommending this book to anyone who might enjoy a well written post-apocalyptic story.